Wordslinger: Putting the Y in Twilight
Wordslinger first began in December of 2011 as a monthly series of writers’ essays for the Bookish Temptations website. In this column, Morgan explores the many elements of fiction and offers tips on how to get the most out of the proverbial pen. After three years, Morgan wrote his final Wordslinger post last month, but we’ve decided to take a walk down Memory Lane and re-post the column here. The pop culture references may now appear dated, but the writing advice is timeless. Enjoy!
Originally posted on the Bookish Temptations website, December 17, 2011:
**Introduction by Jennifer Locklear**
During the closing months of 2009 as my husband was beginning work on his first original story, I discovered the world of Twilight FanFiction. It was the first time I had read stories online, and as my time in front of the computer screen began to increase (significantly), he took notice.
When I explained how I was spending all my free time, he took an interest in the fact that not only were people posting stories online but they were also able to receive immediate feedback from readers. I introduced him to several of the stories I was reading, and within a few days our lives took an interesting turn as he began to consider posting a story of his own.
One evening after I arrived home from work, my husband announced he had begun writing his own FF. He asked me to read what he had written that afternoon and to let him know if I thought it was worthy of posting.
What I read blew me away and I immediately signed on to be his beta. I had to see where his story would take me.
Morgan Locklear quietly posted the first chapter of his epic turn of the century tale on Valentines Day 2010. To our delight, Bella Voce quickly earned readers because his profile page acknowledged that he was writing with an extra pen in his pocket and many females in the Fandom wanted to see how a man wrote our beloved Edward and Bella.
Although I knew he had a talent for music and songwriting, his skills as a storyteller took me by surprise. Not only did Bella Voce include ornate imagery, depth of character and an interweaving of history, Morgan continually amazed me by writing several thousand words each and every week for the better part of two years.
Now that Bella Voce and its sequel, Brutte Parole, have been completed, Morgan is looking forward to returning to that original story he started a couple of years ago. But thankfully for those of us who are fans of his work, he won’t be leaving the Fandom anytime soon.
Putting the Y in Twilight
with Morgan Locklear
The experiences I have had as a man in the female dominated Twilight Fandom all started because I’m a reader. I think that if a man does not read for pleasure he stands little chance of understanding the Fandom. But even as a reader, Twilight was nowhere near my radar despite the fact that I had already enjoyed the Mortal Instruments series.
The Twilight Saga (I hate that it’s called a saga by the way) is a decidedly female oriented story, as evidenced by the first person narrative from Bella. Therefore, it is seen by most men as another romance novel and rightfully so.
I saw the first film and still had no desire to pick up the book (although I did like the casting and the music and Billy Burke was a riot). Also, I knew that Robert Pattinson was a star right away. At the time, I did not remember him from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (and when my wife told me it blew my freaking mind), but I could tell that the kid was the kind of actor who, like another beautiful Robert, could end up directing one day.
I am referring to Robert Redford. He was a gifted and popular young actor who looked too good to be respected until he proved himself with a career rich with wise choices and an unfaltering self-identity.
Pattinson will be up there with the likes of Tom Hanks in everyone’s eyes by the time he’s forty. I will even risk a few words about the very polarizing Kristen Stewart. Even though she is not my type, she is beautiful. But before I jump off the wooden actress bandwagon I would like to point out that she was cast, like Robert, because they shared many social traits of the characters they played.
So, was she stiff or too good? DON’T ANSWER YET!!! I can tell that I haven’t convinced many of you who are determined to hate her and that’s cool, but please listen to one other argument:
Keanu Reeves was a Shakespearean stage actor in Canada who was regarded as the best of his age. (Not kidding). After a small role in a movie (filmed in part in my sister’s car on the Oregon coast) he was cast as Ted “Theodore” Logan in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
He played his part so convincingly that he found himself only being cast in similar roles. Has he had some bad movies? Of course. Has he proven that he is way better than we all thought? Yes. Don’t believe me? Watch The Devil’s Advocate opposite Al Pacino.
I think Kristen has some things to learn, but that’s why we are called human BEINGS. It’s because we are never done “becoming” who we are. Don’t believe me? I’ll tell you what, I’ll put all my eggs in her new Snow White movie. I can tell she is trying to prove something just like Rob did in Remember Me. And, like Rob, she will turn in a stunning performance.
Okay, back to the Fandom…
The only reason I even considered reading Twilight was because I had decided to start writing a small book. Because mine was also written in first person, my wife innocently suggested that I might find the Stephenie Meyer books helpful. I often take advice from my wife – she is smart and witty and has good taste in both books and movies (and men), so I read it.
I gobbled up all four books in a few weeks. As a man, I found the pacing good and the characters effortlessly drawn. There was tension but not too much gooey angst and that was good. My favorite book was Breaking Dawn for one simple reason – it was the first book that Bella stopped constantly bitching about being turned into a vampire.
What can I say, the books lingered in my mind. I became distracted from the book I was writing (a zombie story) and suddenly switched to writing a story about a beautiful young vampire named Bella. She was living in Paris during the 1890’s but had been turned several hundred years before when she was a nineteen year old nun. I wrote a prologue that introduced a human named Edward, who fell in love with her when he attended one of her concerts at the theatre she owned. Bella spied him in the audience and intended to feed on him, only to end up falling in love with Edward as soon as they were introduced backstage.
I showed the prologue to my wife and she suggested that if I write the story as fan fiction I would get feedback and perhaps become a better storyteller.
What a great idea.
When I decided to challenge myself with the task of posting the first chapters even though I only had the vaguest idea of how the story would end, I upped the ante and put myself on a weekly posting deadline. It was the single biggest challenge in my life. (And this is coming from the legally blind father of two children).
During the past two years, I stopped reading other books almost altogether so I could devote my time to writing and now I am anxious to complete reading a few Fandom stories as well as finishing a few hardcovers that are still sitting on my shelf with movie stubs as bookmarks.
Two years later, Bella Voce and it’s sequel, Brutte Parole, are complete. Somehow I also found the time to record an original soundtrack to go along with the stories and I have made literally thousands of friends online.
I can honestly say that it was being a man that probably brought most of my readers at first but like I told my wife, the writing has to keep people coming back for more because the novelty of having a Y chromosome will wear off long before my story is done being told.
I dragged my shy lurker wife into the spotlight with me as she was my very skilled beta and she has since written a short story of her own. We are now working on a story together that I am very excited about. It will begin posting on her FanFiction page (RandomCran) in early 2012.
She came up with this cool idea that takes place partly on a movie set and has some great twists and asked me to write it with her. We have had a good time and I get to write a really bad guy (which I love). It’s called Exposure and it’s one of three things I have planned for 2012 to stay active in the Fandom despite my biggest project being put to bed.
Top Ten things I’ve learned since I’ve been in the Fandom.
1. Women are way more horny than I ever knew about.
2. Strangers are way more generous than I ever thought possible.
3. There are hundreds of unpublished writers on fanfiction.net who could go pro today.
4. Sam Beam (A.K.A. Iron & Wine) is a genius!
5. I’m not the only man in the Fandom (and I’m talking straight guys too!)
6. My wife is a better writer than I am.
7. Seriously, women are waaaaay more horny than I thought.
8. Everyone just wants to be listened to sometimes.
9. T/J means Tweet Jack.
I would like to address negativity as well because not to would be ignoring a factor that has had a lasting influence on me. One other thing I learned is that some people hate for the sake of hating and fighting back will only make things worse, especially when your opponent is anonymous and ignorant.
I was targeted by a hate group last year because I defended another author they were bullying and so they turned their limited sights on me. My thread posts were reposted out of context to make me look arrogant (well, more arrogant anyway) and when I went to their blog to annoy them and play the part of bad guy, I offended other people reading and not just the perpetrators. I thought my tactics were obvious but it backfired and some people wrote me off that day without ever getting to know the truth.
We all know the truth now, that so called group was another fic author and a few followers. But it made a lot of people paranoid and ruined a lot of good fun, so I guess she got what she wanted, (except that book deal).
Yes, it still bothers me that people were willing to bash so many others just because a self-proclaimed hater told them to, but I like to think the Fandom will chase off the next one off together.
Regardless, this Fandom has brought my wife and I closer together than ever before and that alone was worth the trip. But there is so much more that we have gained during our time here. We have friends for a lifetime now, many we have met in person, and we are making more every day.
We have also been a part of many different worthwhile fundraisers and continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity by the people who call Twilight their obsession.
We are currently involved with the Fandom Against Juvenile Diabetes fundraiser and I have just completed a very original story that is told from the point of view of a house cat named Edward (an ECPOV, if you will). It’s called House Rules. Please visit the blog: email@example.com and donate what you can to read many, many wonderful stories from some of the best authors in the Fandom.
Our fifteen year old son has Type One diabetes, and believe me the medical field is close to finding a cure. With your help, it will happen within his lifetime.
I hope this has been an entertaining look at my somewhat foggy view as someone who could have stayed an outsider if not for all the hugs that have pulled me in. From my wife and I, thank you for that. If you do not know us, please find us on twitter and say hello (@MJLocklear and @RandomCran). We are chatty, especially with each other.
And now back to my tawdry little pirate sex romp coming soon: “Arg Isle: Search for the Treasure Trail.”
Posted on January 10, 2015, in Exposure, Jennifer Locklear, Morgan Locklear, Wordslinger, Writing and tagged Bella Voce, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Breaking Dawn, Brutte Parole, Exposure, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, House Rules, Jennifer Locklear, Morgan Locklear, Mortal Instruments, Remember Me, Snow White, The Devil's Advocate, Twilight, Wordslinger, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.